Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pear Bear Muffins

I got the idea for these cuties out of the book below when it came through the library.  The recipe itself was a success for us, but you could use any spice muffin recipe.  After having pears galore for several weeks before making these, we had no pears on this day, so, I used apples.  Eh, oh well. The ears look more like horns, but okay.  I used raisins for the eyes instead of using small chocolate chips.  These were a crowd pleaser . . . for my crowd of one, that is.  (But I got inside information that the kids at school admired the funny muffin in his lunch.)  The recipe used is here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Carrot Soup

I have developed an obsession over this soup.  It all started with the book French Kids Eat Everything, an absolutely charming book about a family who, for realz, moves to France and it changes their entire eating routine.  As in - shatters the American way of eating and wins the family (and the reader) over to the French way.  I loved this book and found it truly inspirational.

So after finishing the book, I wanted to make a soup that was true to itself and didn't have anything "canned" in it.  I happened to have a lot of carrots on hand, and that is how I settled upon this. (In the book, she talks a lot about feeding babies and young children what would essentially be purees of vegetables and then adding aromatics like garlic and onions.  It developes their tastes.)

This soup is from the Moosewood Cookbook, 1977.  At first glance, you might think "Ug, this looks long."  Stay calm, friend.  It is easy. 

Carrot Soup from the 1977 edition of Moosewood Cookbook

2 pounds peeled or scrubbed, chopped carrots
4 cups stock or water (okay, okay, I used canned chicken stock)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 medium potato, chopped (optional, for heartier soup)
3-4 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1-2 small cloves crushed garlic
1/3 cup chopped cashews or almonds

Choose one:
1 cup milk
1 cup yogurt or buttermilk plus a little honey
1/2 pint heavy cream
3/4 cup sour cream
(I have been using the sour cream option)

Seasoning choices:
-2 pinches of nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon dried mint, dash of cinnamon
-1 teaspoon each of thyme, marjoram and basil
-1 teaspoon grated ginger
(I have been using the grated ginger option)

Place carrots, liquid and salt (and potato if you are using it) into a medium sized soup pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer it for 12-15 minutes. Let it cool to room temp.

Saute the onion, garlic and nuts in the butter until the onions are clear. You can sprinkle in a little salt to help draw the moisture out of the onions. Towards the end of cooking, stir in the seasoning combo of your choice.
Add seasonings to soup pot and puree in a blender until smooth OR, if you have it, use an immersion blender.

Whisk in one of the dairy products. This soup freezes beautifully.  I have been making batches and freezing them in lunch-sized containers.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pizza Rolls = delicious balls of goodness

My sister sent me this idea and they're delicious and a smash hit.  Our best bites stuffed pizza rolls...your family should definitely try them.  They are a teensy bit of preparation - nothing hard, nothing dramatic, but you do need to cut little squares and lay everything out.  My goal (unaccomplished thusfar) is to make quite a few of these lil' darlings and freeze them for rainy days (otherwise known as days when mama really needs something easy).

You'll need:
Refrigerated pizza dough (such as Pillsbury)
Pizza toppings I used: canadian bacon, pineapple chunks, grated mozzerella cheese
store bought marinara
olive oil for the tops
garlic bread seasoning (below)

Just roll your dough out of the can and cut it into little squares.  Place your ingredients in the center of your square and then pull corner seams together.  Place your lovelies seam side down in a small square or round dish. You want them to be touching and close to each other.  Brush the tops with olive oil and then sprinkle with garlic bread seasoning. Check your dough for baking times, but I was successful with 400 for 15-20 minutes.  Keep an eye on them, just in case.

I also have a theory that these might be good for company.  Hmmm, you'd have to make quite a few, but it seems that kids of all ages might enjoy. 

The garlic bread seasoning from Our Best Bites is so good.  I keep a jar of it and add the parmesan cheese when I'm using it.

Garlic Bread Seasoning from Our Best Bites
1/2 c. powdered Parmesan cheese (reserve this if you are making it in a jar)
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. marjoram
2 tsp. parsley

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Amish Dinner Rolls

I really like reading about the Amish people - their traditions, ways of life, baking methods, etc. I find their recipes to be simple, though sometimes pretty high on the butter/sugar content.  {I take this in stride, uh hum.}  There are great food traditions to be discovered in the Amish people and several good books out there. I got this lovely pan of rolls from the Amish Friends Cookbook by Wanda Brunstetter.

So these rolls are awesome.  They have a great, hard crust on the outside and the insides are so soft and delicious. I love them and make them for special occasions.  Or for Fridays.  Because they're always special.  They are not  hard to make, but they do take a bit of time; most of it is not hands on - just waiting for the yeast to work its magic.

2 packets dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 to 3.5 cups flour, divided

Preheat oven to 375.
Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add sugar, salt, egg, butter and 1 cup flour; mix well.
Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough and mix well (2 to 2.5 more cups)
Shape dough into ball and grease dough, turning to grease all sides. Cover and let rise until doubled (this step takes about 70 minutes or so).  Punch dough down and shape into balls; put balls into your baking pan.  Let balls rise for 30 minutes or longer.

Bake *8-12 minutes; yields about 12 rolls.

*Note: if your rolls are touching (as mine are), you will need to adjust baking time to 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tomatoes to change your life

Roasting tomatoes has changed my life for the better; it is THE way to use up your garden tomatoes.  I like tomatoes and eat them, but I cannot eat all our garden produces.  Because the roasting process is soooo easy, I prefer it to making a sauce or canning, both of which stress me out a bit.

Slice your tomatoes in half and lay them cut side up on a big pan.  I spritz them with olive oil and then sprinkle with course salt, pepper, maybe some rosemary, and a few garlic cloves.  You do not need a lot of spices; these sweeties stand on their own.  Roast them at 250 or so for about 3 hours.  (This can vary...some people suggest 325 for 2 hours or 225 for 5 hours; test it out and watch out for your smaller tomatoes so they don't get too crunchy.)

When you take them out, I promise you, you will eat about 1/2 of them.  They are like candy; my tomato-disliking-husband helps me eat 1/2 the pan!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nigella's cheesecake

We had a special birthday around our house last month, and the requested dessert was a peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake.  Having made my 1st cheescake in April, I was a teensy concerned about the time factor of a Saturday night birthday party and a completed cheesecake.  This recipe, however, came to my rescue.  I did it on Friday night and it was completed before 9 p.m.  Say what!?  Yes, I started it at 7 p.m. and was on the couch watching House Hunters by 9 p.m.!

It turned out delicious, particularly for my PB and C fans. I am not going to call it "light," but it isn't too heavy, either.  I'm a dessert lover, for sure, but the ones that make me fall out of my chair in a sugar coma after one bite? Well, those are not my favorites; I prefer to savor it the entire way through.  This was a deliciously balanced endeavor, and one that I plan to make again.

The recipe is Nigella's, another reliable favorite of mine.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Real Simple's book

Real Simple magazine has a great new book out: Easy, delicous home cooking.  RS's books are always good - clean spreads, ideas to use up extra ingredients, new takes on common ingredients.  Their books are always wonderfully visual, too - a picture for everything (just the way I like it.)

Something I loved in this book was a little visual frosting help.  By just taking various basics (butter, powdered sugar, chocolate, cream and sugar), you have 6 options on hand to choose from!  There is nothing better than homemade frosting.  Nothing.  Start using it and it will change your cake baking life.   I'm very phobic about canned frosting anyway - they all have trans fat, so watch out.

Also included in the cake seciton of this book are basic recipes for chocolate and yellow cake and tips for baking and frosting your cakes.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...